One thing you should probably know about me is how absolutely terrible I am with technology. Seriously, it is half a miracle that I managed to create and run this lovely little website of ours – so if you’re wondering how one can accidentally delete a blog post, you’re clearly asking the wrong person, because I have no friggin’ idea!
Anyway, a post I wrote with my dear, talented, photographer-pal, Ariane Laezza, about how to execute badass maternity photos has gone rogue – so here is it, once again: everything you need to know to achieve totally gorgeous (and totally non-cheesy) captures.
THE REBEL MAMA’S GUIDE TO MATERNITY PORTRAITS
“Maternity” and “Shoot” have always been 2 words that, when combined, make me cringe a little… ok fine. They make me cringe a lot.
Once you’re of a certain age (say late 20s to late 30s on average), your social media feeds tend to become overrun with these commemorative photographs – most of which look totally staged, are highly yawn-worthy, or are so poorly executed that just looking at them make you feel uncomfortable enough to close your browser and go pour yourself a “let’s just forget we saw that” cocktail.
My personal aversion to said photoshoots led me to decide against doing one during my first pregnancy; however, about a year into my son’s life, I started to regret not properly documenting the amazing transformation my body had undergone to bring him into the world.
That’s why, a few months later, when I found out I was pregnant with baby numero dos, I decided that once I became round enough (which turned out to be at the 27-week mark), I would call my dear friend, photographer Ariane Laezza, and ask her to undertake the difficult task of producing some non-cheesy, natural, uncontrived preggo pics for me – the sight of which wouldn’t make me want to crawl under a rock and die.
Oh boy, did homegirl ever deliver; so much so that I asked her if she would help me put a post together to give other pregnant rebels the tools they need to create the maternity shoot of their own unconventional dreams.
A LITTLE ABOUT ARIANE
This beauty of a human being (inside AND out) happens to be a specialist in Visual Culture and Communications with a fierce passion for the arts. Choosing to work primarily with natural light, Ariane always strives to capture the innate beauty and unique nature of each of her subjects, whether it be in her street or portrait photography.
She is a warm and gentle soul whose 10+ years of work in front of the camera has helped her develop a keen eye and relaxed attitude behind the lense (although all those years in the modelling industry sometimes results in her telling you to “smeyes”; which only prompts hysterical laughter, resulting in unexpectedly great shots).
Oh and *BONUS* kids love her (must be those kind, inviting baby blues of hers).
ARIANE’S MATERNITY PORTRAIT POINTERS
- First of all, I think it’s important to capture the important moments in life with a beautiful portrait. These days there may not be a shortage of pictures, but very rarely do we take the time to print out and collect important photographs that our children and future generations will be able to see and cherish. These will mean so much down the road.
- Work with a professional. Friends may take beautiful photographs but it’s worth the time and money to work with an expert who is experienced and has an eye for portraits. Have fun with friends leading up to the shoot date though – if you’re nervous on camera it can be a great way to loosen up and have fun with it!
- Do your research on the style of portrait you want done (Hello, Pinterest). See which photographers in your city shoot in the same way and ask your network for any recommendations.
- Meet with the photographer first to see if there is good chemistry. Portraits are as much about feeling comfortable in the moment as the are about the connection between subject and photographer – so make sure you like who you’re about to be working with!
- It may be hard for new mamas, but try to get a good night’s rest and to have eaten well the morning of the shoot. You want to be comfortable, rested and energized to get your best shot of you.
- The #1 question I get is: WHAT DO I WEAR? (Caps Lock intentional). Women really do get overwhelmed when it comes to wardrobe but the good news is, the simpler the better! Avoid patterns, logos and stripes. Stick to neutral colours like black, white, beige, navy blue and organic fabrics if possible like cotton, silk etc. Avoid wearing any big jewellery pieces or accessories and keep your hair and makeup beautiful and natural. We want you to stand out – not what you’re wearing. In 20 yrs you want to be able to say “Wow look how beautiful I am here.” – not “What on EARTH was I wearing?” Also keep in mind with maternity shoots to choose fabrics that show off your growing belly – tight in some spots and free and flowing in others. (i.e body con dress and loose kimono style robe OR lace bralette and boyfriend jeans.)
- During the shoot feel free to ask the photographer to see a few photos. Once you have an idea of lighting and body positioning, turn the trust back to the photographer and just allow yourself to be in the moment. They will guide you the rest of the way.
- Your photographer will most likely send you low resolution proofs that you can choose from – if there are any areas of concern feel free to bring these up. Some women have stretch marks or scars they want covered and it’s more than ok to ask. Make sure you are sent low resolution edits that can be used online (Instagram, Facebook) as well as high resolution edits that can be printed.
NIKITA’S MATERNITY PORTRAIT POINTERS
I thought I’d also throw in a few extra tips from the subject’s standpoint to help make sure your maternity shoot goes just the way you want it to:
- Timing is everything (ie. if you know your house gets fantastic light in the morning, book your shoot for first thing in the a.m.)
- If you have other small children, make sure you book your shoot with their schedule in mind or arrange for them to go to grandma and grandpa’s for a few hours. (I wanted a few family shots while we were at it so I had Ariane come about 45 minutes before nap time so we had some time to shoot with and without him.)
- Clean your damn house – it’s great to have any and all rooms photo-ready just in case your photographer spots a corner she wants to shoot in that you’d never considered to be anything special. (We ended up finding great light in my guest bedroom, a.k.a. the clean laundry basket room; thank god Ariane is a good friend and she helped me scoot the baskets out into the hallway!)
- Trust your photographer. Seriously. This one is hard for a control freak; but I promise, the more you can let yourself make like Elsa and LET IT GO, is the better your photos will be.
If you want to find out more about Ariane, feel free to contact her!
(And if you want a good laugh, check out this hilarious gallery of terrible fucking maternity photos!)
Happy photographing mamas!